This 1000 sq. km. jungle in the south of Rwanda is the largest and most ancient Afro-Montane forest remaining in the East & Central Africa, dating back to the last ice age.

One of Africa’s best kept secrets, the forest is interspersed with well marked and maintained trails and boasts 13 rare primate species, the world’s largest ever recorded arboreal troop of black/white colobus monkeys, over 300 species of birds and 100 types of orchid. Nyungwe Forest and chimpanzee tracking is the ideal compliment to any gorilla safari.

Size: 1019 KM2

Distance: 225 Km from Kigali, 90 Km from Butare and 54 Km from Cyangugu.

Altitude: 1600 M-2950 M above sea level with temperatures varying between 0°C and 30°C; average day temperatures 15°C.

Rainfall: 1800-2500 mm per year. Rainy season is September to May. Dry season June to August with some dry weeks in December and January.



  • Largest montane rain forest remaining in Africa
  • Mt. Bigugu (2925M)
  • Kamiranzovu marsh (13 Km2)
  • In the vicinity Cyamudongo community forest with resident population of Chimpanzees.
  • 260 species of trees and shrubs
  • Over 140 species of orchids and giant lobelias
  • 13 recorded species of primates (25% of Africa’s total) including chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), Ruwenzori colobus (Colbus angeolensis ruwenzori) l’Hoest’s monkey (Cercopithecus l’hoesti), silver monkey (C.mitis doggetti), golden monkey (C.mitis kandti), owl-faced monkey (C.hamlyni), red-tailed monkey (C.ascdanius), Den’t mona monkey (C.mona denti), vervet monkey (C.aetiops), olive baboon (papio anubis), grey-cheeked mangabey (Cercocebus albigena) and three species of bushbaby
  • Leopard, golden cat, serval cat, side stripped jackal, Genet, African civet, slender and marsh mongoose represents the carnivores
  • Other mammals include three species of duikers, two species of flying squirrels, tree hyrax and Congo clawless otter
  • 120 species of butterflies
  • 275 bird species with 24 endemic to the Central African Highlands (Albertine Rift)
  • Reptiles including three species of horned chameleons



  • Bird walks
  • Primate trekking
  • Excursions to Kamiranzovu Marsh
  • Excursions to Lake Kivu and Gisakura tea factory
  • Scaling Mt. Bigugu (2925M)
  • Photography

Nyungwe forest website

Chimpanzee tracking starts at 06:00 Hrs. Visitors are advised to book chimpanzee tracking in advance. (Not for children under the age of 15).

Nyungwe Forest

This massive montane forest, in southern Rwanda , the largest in Central Africa , has thirteen species of primate including chimpanzee, Rwenzori colobus and l’Hoest’s monkey.

The colobus live in large groups, including a four hundred-strong semi-habituated group thought to be the largest troop of arboreal primates in Africa .

Around 300 bird species, 24 of which are regional endemics and over 100 varieties of orchids and butterflies are other attractions ..

Nyungwe’s Trail System

Nyungwe offers 13 hiking trails, some with tongue-twisting names. Try pronouncing “Igishigishigi” quickly, which is the name of an easy 1.7 km trail that begins near the Uwinka Reception Centre.  By the way, Igishigishigi means tree fern. The trails range from easy to difficult and from 1.7 kms to 10.6 kms in length.

Trails from Uwinka Reception Centre

Trail names Distance Difficult level
Red (Imbaraga) 9 km Difficult
Green (igishigishigi) 1,7 km Easy
Blue (Umugote) 3,5 km Moderate
Grey (Bugufi) 2 km Easy
Mount Bigugu 7 km Difficult
Kamiranzovu swamp 3,9 km Moderate
Yellow (Irebero) 3,2 km Moderate
Pink (Umuyove) 3,8 km Moderate
Rukuzi 7,8km Difficult
Uwinka 10,5 km Difficult

Trails from Gisakura Reception Centre

Trail names Distance Difficult level
Kamiranzovu water fall (Isumo) 10,6 km Moderate
Karamba 2km Easy

The Nyungwe Nziza project helped develop trails from the Kitabi Reception Center. These trails lead you to a great viewpoint in Kitabi village and tea plantation for observing many types of vegetation, primates and birds.

Trail names Distance Difficult level
Ngabwe 4km moderate